Traffic snarl-ups at new SH1 roundabout

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 05:00 11/02/2014
Otaihanga roundabout
JOEL MAXWELL
Work begins: The Otaihanga Rd entrance to the roundabout project.

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Long traffic delays have frustrated commuters and holidaymakers as work continues on a roundabout at one of the worst black spots on the Kapiti Coast.

The roadworks at the Otaihanga Rd intersection of State Highway 1 have been contributing to delays of up to an hour during peak travel times and holiday weekends over the past couple of weeks.

Traffic has been backed up and crawling south to Paraparaumu and north to Waikanae, to the frustration of many drivers.

New Zealand Transport Agency regional performance manager Mark Owen said traffic had been particularly heavy from last Wednesday because people had taken a long weekend.

"We also had unusually high levels of traffic in the middle of the day on Sunday heading north as out-of-towners who had attended the Rugby Sevens headed back home."

Wellington highways manager Rod James said the agency was aware of the possibility of delays resulting from the temporary configuration of the roundabout, and had been advising motorists through advertising to plan their journeys and allow for holdups.

"It is not unusual for delays to be experienced while drivers get used to a new roundabout . . . there are no physical obstructions to traffic, so any delays appear to be a combination of drivers adjusting to the new configuration and temporary speed limit and the usual heavy peak-hour volumes that the Kapiti Expressway aims to alleviate," he said.

"It is a case of short-term pain, long-term gain as we work to create a modern, two-lane roundabout that will improve traffic flow and help prevent fatal and serious crashes.

"The roundabout will become a fully functional, two-lane roundabout in time for Easter, weather permitting."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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